Quarantine was the regular method of coping with outbreaks of infectious diseases. The point of the passage about mildew in clothes, harness etc is that we don’t like to expend money on replacement or repairs. A modern example is the government demand for the annual registration inspection of cars re roadworthiness. Unsafe equipment then as now often causes accidents.
“… The priest shall examine …”
One element that is in all of these examples is the priest conducting an examination.
It is up to the priesthood to be the examiner, the investigator, the watcher to see what is clean and what is unclean.
By the time of Jesus the priests (and the Levites, the teachers of the law, the Pharisees) were very good at coming up with lots of external additional rules and regulations around being clean.
Jesus calls them out in His “woe to you” sermon in Matthew 23,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.”
The outside is only a sign, it is what is inside (the heart) that matters.
Peter comes right up against this (which shows it wasn’t just in the leaders, but was something Israelites across the board would have had to wrestle with) when God sends Him a vision of the animals in the sheet.
“So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him … To him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
It is so easy to take the route of the leaders of Israel at that time and just focus on the external. To make judgements on people based on human elements.
But God does not do this. He shows no partiality. All who believe in Jesus receive forgiveness of our sins through His name.
This is the good news! The wonderful message of hope in our King and Saviour, the Lord Jesus.
* Father God,
Thank You for Jesus, through whom we receive forgiveness for our sins.
Thank You that You show no partiality, it doesn’t matter what kind of body or mind we have, what wealth or goods are in our possession, or what bloodline we were born into.
You call all people to You through Jesus.